Saturday, January 2, 2016

Jesus says Love and Hate are a Matter of Life and Death (1 John 3:14-15)

If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brothers or sisters is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them
(1 John 3:14-15, NLT).

The Apostle John reminds us that in becoming followers of Jesus Christ, we actually “passed from death to life.” Proof of this is that: “we love our Christian brothers and sisters.” Showing love is a vital evidence of our faith in Christ. It is the surest sign that we really do belong to God. To show hatred or indifference, on the other hand, is to be dead in a spiritual sense (read 1 Corinthians 13 about the nature of love).

We are also reminded here that we should show love especially to God’s people, “our Christian brothers and sisters” in God’s family. One of the great benefits of being a Christian is that we never need to feel alone or rejected (but sadly, there are some people who want to be alone). We are part of a family with relatives all around the world. And the bond of closeness which can develop is unlike that which happens in any relationship. Some of us are even closer to our brothers and sisters in Christ than our actual physical family! Indeed, God is our Father, Jesus is our older Brother, and fellow believers are our spiritual family. What a Big Family of God!

Just as we should look after the brothers and sisters in our earthly families, so God wants us to look after and care for our new relatives – those who are in our spiritual family. This also means that when we try to think of ways to show love, we should not shut ourselves off from people nearby who are in need. Right in our communities there are people who are lonely or hungry, who need clothing or attention. Love will do something about it. Love, the Greek word agape, is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, have an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another [as explained in the Amplified Bible]. “Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (3:18).

Let’s talk about the subject of hatred. The Scriptures speak strongly about it. John says that “anyone who hates another brothers or sisters is really a murderer at heart.” The outward act may be different. In one case (murder), we actually do physical harm to someone; and in the other (hatred), we may wish he or she were dead. Both we the same in God’s standard. Why? Because to God the inner feelings of murder and hatred are the same. And if we don’t deal with our feelings of hatred, we may end up doing great harm to others. Jesus says, “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell” (Matthew 5:21-22). That’s serious matter my friends. 

Do you have anger and hatred toward your brothers and sisters in Christ now?
Remember: “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12)

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